Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Why I love Tim Burton and why my Book isn't like Twilight.

So as a few people may or may not know, I went to LA recently (heck check the last blog post ;) ) to pitch Tale of the Twins Book 1 as a movie idea to Hollywood executives. The gathering of literary minds was phenomenal. There was such a variety in work, it left me somewhat stunned.

Here I was going against another 150 authors to get this potential once-in-a-life-time chance to be something other than a half-assed secretary working a mundane 9-5 job. Don't get me wrong, I like some aspects of my day job but being completely serious, I'd rather stay at home and play video games or write all day. Oh and I'd like to get out of bed a lot later in the morning. I like sleep and relaxing, it's the holiness of all things holy.

Anyway, the first part of this exciting event went off well. I met a few authors during the evening on Friday and tried not to sink too far into the lawn in 4-inch stiletto heels. Authors are an interesting bunch. There were authors writing about sex and prostitutes and authors writing about alien races battling against each other. One wrote a children's story about a lost kitten, another a children's story about a mischievous dog. So much diversity, so little time to absorb it all.

Our goal (as any author's goal) was the same: to be noticed. To achieve that life-long dream of being famous because of the written world. To be able to stop living a mundane life and live off the bank account of something that popped out of your imagination.

Whether or not we succeed in this goal depending solely on our own talents of pitching our book idea in three minutes to people looking for ideas. Oh and we only had one night and one day to learn how to make this pitch perfect. Were the odds against us? Oh yes. But from what I hear, 46 people received a "call-back" asking for copies of the book.

Saturday morning brought a bout of nausea and I felt like calling off the whole thing. But I managed to get down to the meeting hall where two semi-famous Hollywood folks taught us how to pitch. It was then that I for one, figured out that everything I had done was probably wrong and re-wrote the entire thing from scratch.

After the lesson, we practiced pitching in front of one of the Hollywood folks. I was told my story was interesting but I had to learn how to breathe. Usually I'm not so nervous when speaking to people about my ideas (God knows I wasn't when describing my story to other authors), but I was in L.A. Alone. Surrounded by people and trying to capture that one moment that would potentially catapult me into fame. Yeah, nerves were required.

Then the pitching itself. I won't bore you with details. I pitched to 9 different Hollywood agents, they asked questions and I answered. It was over too quick for me to actually think. Then there was a short 15 minute author interview, a final wrap-up and we were all free to crawl back to the hovels or under the rocks from which we came.

Not me, I had another author interview the next day. Then it was back on the flying metal tin-can and back home to Canada to wait. Yes, wait. We weren't to receive any results until August 8th. For those of you keeping track, that was yesterday.

Before I get into results, I need to say a few things. I knew that despite what happened, the trip wasn't a waste. I toured LA and went to the tar pits. I got a replica of a freaking Saber tooth cat fang. I got to see the Tim Burton exhibition at the LACMA. I got to meet other authors and discuss their novels.

I love meeting other authors, even if it's online. I love talking about myself (as you can plainly see) and I love talking to people about their work, or my own. I LOVE looking at the bones of dead things (this is where the tar pits come in) and I LOVE Tim Burton - in a totally not-obsessive fan-girl way.

Tim Burton is creepy, funny, and his art/movies makes you take a step back and thing: "What the Hell IS that?" I get chills remembering some of his work. I can't say he's been my biggest motivation for writing or anything, but I like looking to his work for creepy inspiration. And Edward Scissorhands has always been one of my favourite movies.

I think this creepy obsession goes hand in hand with my love of bones (I was going to say dead things here but that might make some people think I'm a necrophiliac or something). I took an online forensics course to learn more about how to tell how a person died by their remains, a la CSI. I've always been absolutely fascinated with the human body and the concept of death.

As for my love of talking to people, well that comes and goes. Sometimes I'm the most anti-social person you could ever meet. Other times, you can't get me to shut the hell up. Especially about story ideas. I love hashing out ideas with other people or talking to people about my ideas. For instance, I love mentioning my zombie anthology. Zombies combine all my loves: creepiness, bones, death and writing. What more can a morbidly obsessed girl want?

Speaking of the anthology: it comes out this coming Monday after I meticulously edit it for another few days. And decide whether or not the cover is really as good as I think it is.
Getting away from my insistent rambling: the results of the Hollywood pitching in LA are in. And no, I won't be getting a six or seven digit figure for someone to horrendously negate the original concepts of Book 1 so they can be transferred to the big screen. No Hollywood moment for me, no one-hit wonder here and certainly no movie deal.

Is it discouraging? Hell yes. Am I depressed? Oh *insert expletive here* yes. Do I care? Oddly, not really. Yeah, I was rejected but who wasn't their first time around? It would be insane of me to think after one try (technically 9 in this case) that I would hit the big one. Am I jealous of the ones that did? Certainly. It doesn't mean I'm going to give up, oh no.

It just means I'll work that little bit harder to get my name out there even if I'm a crazy-cat lady at 40 still spouting the same nonsense about my books and my work. Actually, crazy-cat lady seems like a good goal, I've always loved cats.

The only thing that irked me about the results is one agent said the following:"It feels too much like Twilight." Wait, what? There were no werewolves mentioned in my pitch. There was no human falling in love with a vampire in my pitch. My pitch was about the multiple-personality, insane, lovable spy La Puce and how he both saves and destroys the world in almost the same breath. Where the heck does Twilight fit into that?

Book 1 is about vampires blowing each other up, setting each other on fire, maiming each other, magically transporting themselves through portals, a fight of riddles with a dragon, magical spells, a sword called the Hell-blade that was made in a Satanic ritual, vampires killing humans for sport (and food, let's not forget that), and world domination that includes enslaving the human race. So, I'm sorry: "feels too much like Twilight"?

Bah. Really, if you're not interested in Book 1 now you should be ;). There's a lot of blood and gore in there (near the end mainly, that's when the big war breaks out) and some magic just for fun. Oh and Book 2 has zombies. And the Hell-beast. Oh and the actual blood and gore is almost half the book.

On a serious note (which is very rare for me), the comparison was mote. It seems that the moment someone mentions the word "vampire" people automatically think "Twilight". It used to be that people automatically thought of Lestat or Dracula. Now it's Edward Cullen and Bella Swan. I actually had to change the name of one of my characters from Isabella to something else for just that reason, even though the name Isabella made sense in the context that was being used and I hadn't heard of Twilight yet. Kudos to Stephanie Meyer for creating such a fandom.

Despite the words above, I'm not bitter. Merely impressed and fascinated. Okay, maybe a bit bitter that an agent thought my book was like Twilight but solely for the reason that it's completely different. That's like saying Dr. Seuss is similar to Shakespeare. And don't read too much into that comparison because I don't mean it any kind of insult to Meyer or myself. I admire her tenacity and her ability to create such an empire out of her work.

Either way, my work wasn't the break-out hit some Hollywood agent/company was looking for. Now, you're thinking: but what will you do now Renna? Well that's easy. I'm going to keep writing, editing, staying up until obscene hours of the night trying to be social network savvy and working my 9-5 job until I actually make something of the little ideas I scribble onto paper when I can.

And you're thinking: but why? Well, because I love my characters, I love writing and I love the handful of people that are my fans. I may not have the funds to put out Book 2 (buy Book 1 and you get Book 2 faster ;) ) but I do have enough funds so people don't forget I'm around. And once Book 2 gets edited (because in all reality my grammar/spelling is sometimes atrocious), it will grace the Internet with its presence. Then I'll write Book 3 and people will hate me for the ending, I'm sure.

But to hate me, you must first like me enough to give the first two Books a chance. Law of averages or something. And even when you do hate me, you'll want to read more so you can wonder where I get my literary genius from (you can laugh, I won't know).

To conclude this rant: buy Book 1. Do it for the love of Tim Burton. Do it for the love of morbid things. Do it for the love of authors. Do it for the love of the written word. Or do it just because you liked (or hated) this little rant. I don't need to know your reason, but I will thank you profusely because I love you.

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